Coronavirus: Can I visit Wales from a COVID-19 hotspot? | UK News

Coronavirus: Can I visit Wales from a COVID-19 hotspot? | UK News

The Welsh government has released a list of exemptions for people travelling into the country from COVID-19 hotspots.

The Welsh travel ban was imposed on Friday evening by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, after repeated requests to Boris Johnson to impose travel restrictions in England for those living in towns and cities with a high number of cases.

Anyone living in the UK with high levels of COVID-19 is now unable to travel to the devolved nation “without a reasonable excuse”.

Mark Drakeford addresses the nation
Mark Drakeford addresses the nation

This includes Tier 2 and 3 areas in England, the central belt of Scotland, and all of Northern Ireland.

However, there are some exemptions.

In accordance with Welsh law, there are 18 “reasonable” reasons why travel from a COVID-19 hotspot may be permitted.

  1. Collecting food, medical and household supplies for people from the same household – especially for those vulnerable
  2. Obtaining money or a deposit from a business
  3. Receiving or providing medical assistance – including veterinary services
  4. Providing, receiving or accessing care where the person receiving care is vulnerable, i.e. childcare
  5. Work, volunteering or charitable services where a person is unavailable to conduct the tasks from home
  6. Where the person is an elite athlete, trains and competes
  7. Providing or receiving emergency assistance
  8. Attending a solemnisation of a marriage or formation of a civil partnership if invited or the carer of the person attending
  9. Attending a funeral if arranging it, invited or as the carer of the person attending
  10. Meeting a legal obligation – i.e. attending court, satisfying bail conditions or participating in legal proceeding
  11. Accessing or receiving public services
  12. Participating or facilitating in organised activities for the development of children i.e. sports, music and other forms of recreational activities outside of school hours
  13. Accessing educational services
  14. Continued existing arrangements for children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, or someone who has parental responsibility over them
  15. Moving home
  16. Undertaking activities in connection with purchasing, selling, letting or renting a residential property
  17. Avoiding injury, illness or escaping harm and risk
  18. Travel to reach a place outside the area

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter she “fully” supports Wales’ decision.

The Scottish and Welsh first ministers have criticised the new 'stay alert' message
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon supports Wales’ travel ban

She said: “These are public health decisions, and nothing to do with constitutional or political debates.”

Downing Street said the plans were “disappointing”.

Beyond the travel ban, rules could be getting tougher in Wales.

The country currently faces 17 local lockdowns affecting 2.3m people.

But, although the lockdowns have slowed the spread of the virus, Mr Drakeford said on Friday they had “not worked enough”.

Mark Drakeford
Mark Drakeford imposed the ban after repeatedly asking Boris Johnson to tighten travel rules in England

He will be meeting with other members of the Welsh government over the weekend to discuss a circuit-breaker lockdown and will announce any decisions on Monday.

Speaking at the Welsh government’s news briefing on Friday afternoon, he said the option “is most actively under consideration” in order to reduce levels of COVID-19.

The circuit-break – or what he refers to as the “fire-break” – would be different to the first style of lockdown.

He said: “This would be a short, sharp shock to the virus which could turn back the clock, slowing down its spread and buying us more time and vital capacity in the health service.

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“But this time, it will be for weeks and not months. We are considering a two or three-week fire-break. The shorter the period, the sharper the measures will have to be.”

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has entered the strictest rules in the UK so far – with pubs and restaurants closing for four weeks and with schools facing a two-week shutdown.

In Scotland all coronavirus restrictions and guidance remains in place for now – although face coverings must now be worn in workplace canteens and communal workplace areas like corridors.

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